Rahiem Shabazz – Education: From A Hip-Hop Journalist Point Of View

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Rahiem Shabazz – Education: From A Hip-Hop Journalist Point Of View
An exclusive interview with Rahiem Shabazz

Elementary Genocide

From writing, editing, interviewing & promoting Hip Hop to eventually moving behind the camera to direct, Rahiem Shabazz comes with a blend of education & entertainment.

He is currently traveling around the United States nationwide to promote his hard hitting, informative documentary “Elementary Genocide”. It highlights the issues facing Black males & the educational/school & legal systems. Rahiem has kindly taken time out from his very hectic schedule to build with me about his work.

Peace to the God, I will that all is well with you. Many thanks for giving me the the opportunity to build.

Rahiem Shabazz: Peace. I’ like to begin by saying that the pathway to education should not be impeded by those who live outside the community. The children are not the perpetrators of the education system, they are the victims and we are all have a duty to protect them. Thus, is the reason I spearheaded the movement to film and release “Elementary Genocide”. The great literary genius James Baldwin states, “For these are all our children, we will all profit with or pay for what they believe”.

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Now before we find out more about the man behind the camera & the pen, along with your involvement with Hip Hop, please tell us more about your latest documentary “Elementary Genocide”.

Rahiem Shabazz: Elementary Genocide is more than a documentary, its a call to action to overhaul the public school system and to stop the school to prison pipeline. We have several feature contributors such as Dr. Umar Johnson, Dr. Boyce Watkins, Rapper Killer Mike, Tracey D. Syphax and many other notable activist, teachers and academia scholars.

Was their anything in particular that prompted you to put “Elementary Genocide” together, or is the documentary’s content something you felt that needed to be addressed? Perhaps it was a combination of reasons.

Rahiem Shabazz: The main impetus was my desire to highlight the school to prison pipeline and to show the correlation, between school and prison, because until this documentary many did not know it existed. The term school to prison pipeline has been thrown around loosely, but this is the first comprehensive documentary that magnifies the problems and puts the spotlight on the solution.

You have been on a promotional tour with the documentary, holding screenings. How well do you feel it’s been received? Also has there been much if any difference regionally in reaction to it?

Rahiem Shabazz: I’m currently on the “Shackles 2 Solution Tour” with Freedom Fighter/Author/Activist Kalonji Jama Changa of the FTP Movement. Thus far the screening are well attended and some are standing room only. Surprisingly enough, a lot of white folks come out and speak about the injustice happening to black and brown youth. See, the emotional power of truth will make all bear witness. We just need more folks to take a stand and defend these rouge policies that target the children of the inner city, because if we don’t then we are co-conspirators in our own oppression.

What do you feel is your best interview to date?

Rahiem Shabazz: Personally, I do not have a favorite interview. I think everyone did an exceptional job in articulating the dire need to eradicate the school to prison pipeline and showing the prison industrial complex is modern day slavery that serves the interest of the rich. I think people were surprised by Killer Mike’s analysis of the tragedy that is happening. The reason being is because rappers are not look to as intellectuals and are regarded as just entertainers. But, the brother dropped it heavy on us.

You have indicated that a part two to “Elementary Genocide” will be produced. Are you looking at a continuing series of documentaries & possibly highlighting other subject matter?

Rahiem Shabazz: Indeed. There is a part 2 to the documentary called, “The Board of Education vs The Board of Incarceration”. I have several ideas for future documentaries on different subject matters. I also plan on continuing my web-series, “The 30 Day Rule”. After the success of the 1st episode there is a lot of response from the fans to continue the series. We were able to get over 100,000 views on Youtube.

The inability for Black People to receive justice continues to be highlighted. How far in your opinion is the racial divide in America?

Rahiem Shabazz: The racial divide in America widens everyday and justice is not rendered to black and brown people. Today, I read about the tragic death of 16-year old Kimani Gray that was brutally murdered in New York City by an undercover officer. He was unarmed and the officer is not being charged with murder. Then we have Trayvon Martin, Kendrick Johnson, Renisha McBride and many others who met their untimely death and justice was never served. Most recently, the world got to see the murder of Eric Garner in Staten Island at the hands of the racist police. We still waiting on the verdict on that one. There is a need to ensure that justice is served by any means necessary, if not we need to take it to the streets and I’m not talking no peaceful march, where we sing we shall over come. Our grandmothers and grandfather did that and we are thankful for their sacrifice, but this is a new generation answering the call for freedom, justice and equality and its only a matter of time before we get it.

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Now let’s focus on the man himself. Journalism is clearly a calling & a talent of yours. How did you get your start in the industry? It must have been great for yourself to be able to do articles on Hip Hop.

Rahiem Shabazz: I been apart of the hip-hop culture from the time I can remember growing up in the Bronx and Harlem. It’s only natural that my profession would’ve involve hip-hop, so I ventured off into the journalism side of the industry. Throughout, my illustrious career I’ve written for just about ever urban driven publication and I transition over into the film industry. Hip-Hop has always been the voice for the voiceless and those who were marginalized by society. Now the voice of rage and anger is expressed in my documentaries, so its still hip-hop to me because hip-hop is not just music, its a culture.

You are the owner of Rasha Entertainment, is the focus predominantly music, or does it encompass entertainment in general? The website seems to have an emphasis on current Hip Hop.

Rahiem Shabazz: Rasha Entertainment is a subsidiary of Rasha Visions LLC which is the parent company. Rasha Entertainment is known for its website that has been in existence since 2005. It can be classified as a hip-hop website, but over the years we have evolved and will continue to evolve. Its run by myself and 4 other dedicated staff members. We average over 3 million page views a month.

With multimedia through the internet increasing, do you have any plans to expand Rasha Entertainment, perhaps visually through television?

Rahiem Shabazz: In the future, Rasha Entertainment will not just be looked at as a website, we already monetize the site and built the brand. We have a proven formula to engage our audience and deliver content, we are now focus on television, screen writing and a few other ventures.

How do you personally see the current state of Hip Hop?

Rahiem Shabazz: I see the hip-hop culture evolving, although some will argue its a detriment to today’s youth. But, like KRS-1 said, “If hip-hop has the power to destroy the youth, it also possesses the power to uplift them as well.

Hip Hop has become so regional these days. You yourself are a native New Yorker who has relocated to Atlanta. What differences stand out to you & what are your feelings on Atlanta/The South being proclaimed the new home of Hip Hop?

Rahiem Shabazz: As a native New Yorker who has resided in the South for over 10 years now, I seen the change in hip-hop first hand. The south is winning not because they make better music, but because of the unity amongst the rappers. However, New York will always be the epic center of the music industry, regardless to regional divides. More importantly, you have rappers from out West, East, Mid-West and South all making music together. So in the end, its all about good music. You never hear someone say Denzil Washington is a East Coast actor, Will Smith is a East Coast actor and Ice Cube is a West Coast actor, I try to stay away from regional labels.

A then & now question for you. Who & what were your Hip Hop influences growing up? Also, who do you rate highly & listen to now?

Rahiem Shabazz: My overall influence growing up was Brand Nubian, Rakim, Just-Ice, KRS-1, Public Enemy and N.W.A. I highly rate Jay-Z as one of the best to ever do it. If you study his career, you’ll see his trajectory to greatness that no rapper has been able to surpass.

Being so heavily involved in the media yourself, do you feel that Hip Hop that (what many would say) promotes negativity is what mainstream media highlights? As well as this, are you of the opinion that there is a lack of balance or positivity in today’s music?

Rahiem Shabazz: The negative portrayal on hip-hop has everything to do with the racist mindset of white supremacy. If they are not taking popular culture and claiming it as its own, they will use the participants of that culture as a tool and also a slave. Hip-Hop culture changed the political landscape of America and help to elect its first Black President and it reach is undeniable. If they could not use hip-hop to portray blacks as criminals and degenerates they would use sports or some other means.

What words of motivation & advice would you give to anybody aspiring to be involved in music media?

Rahiem Shabazz: My words of advice for anyone attempting to enter the entertainment industry is to study the greats and learn from the mistakes they made. Also, do not compromise your integrity to succeed because those that do never end up happy. The ultimate rule is be yourself, take chances and never take no for an answer.

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In closing, I once again thank you for the opportunity to build. Hopefully we can catch up again in the future to discuss your continued successes. Peace to the God!

Peace, After viewing the documentary, I would want all of us to get to work to repair the damage that is being done. We should no longer look to outside entities to do what we should be doing for ourselves. If you’re not immense in the history and culture of our people then your opinion on what is the solution to the school to prison pipeline is invalid.

Peace.

Rahiem Shabazz

(Interview by Rashad Unique Allah)

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View the synopsis, DVD purchase details & more of “Elementary Genocide” here

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Visit the Rasha Entertainment website here

True & Living Mathematics In Motion: An Exclusive Interview With Kasim Allah (aka Mista 7)

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True & Living Mathematics In Motion:
An Exclusive Interview With Kasim Allah aka Mista 7

Multi talented vocalist Kasim Allah, mainly known for his spoken word music tracks has now released his debut solo Hip Hop album “Living Mathematics”. The title is the name of his movement & also reflects his Nation Of Gods & Earths culture. The Living Mathematics movement is a project that encourages positivity within its followers. It’s more than just a album, it’s a way of life. With the movement just getting underway this is an excellent time to catch up & build with Kasim.

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Peace Kasim, I will that all is well. Thanks for taking time out of your hectic schedule to build about the Living Mathematics album. Please explain the concept of the Living Mathematics movement?

KA: Peace! First and foremost, thank you for your support in all of my efforts. You’ve been very much an instrumental and positive force indeed.

The Living Mathematics Movement was born out of the need for more lyrically conscious music as an alternative to what we are being force-fed by the mainstream media today. Mathematics is the order of and the science behind all things in the Universe. Living Mathematics is Supreme Mathematics in motion. It is mathematics walking and talking where it is seen in everyday life. Life in order and balanced, and in harmony with itself. The higher order of existence. I miss that I in Hip Hop today.

Which rappers, other vocalists & producers contributed to album?

KA: This album proudly features my first emcee partner, Shamel; a singer of the highest caliber as well as a great influence, Don Scribbs and Brand Nubian! Living Mathematics also features tracks from Infinite Thought Allah, Bigg Scott-7XL Productions, Devaron Benjamin, Spanish Jose, Bazooka Joe, Tarik Bayyan, Iquan and Scratch God. The vocals on the song Giving Up were sung by Raven Valentine.

“Jive Pretenders” is your collaboration track with Lord Jamar & Sadat X of Brand Nubian. How much of an influence have Brand Nubian been to you personally? Also for those who are unaware, please explain the meaning of the term “Jive Pretenders”?

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KA: Brand Nubian is from my hometown. I have known them for decades and Grand Puba for my entire life. They have been very influential because they showed that people in my hood could make it in the rap game. They are responsible also for making the teachings of the 5% popular again in New Rochelle/Now Rule. There were always Gods and Earths there b.u.t., when WAKE UP dropped, it turned into something much bigger community-wise. A Jive Pretender is someone who falsely claims to be a part of the Nation of Gods And Earths and does not live the culture. Also known as lip professors.

Apart from a video & remix for “Jive Pretenders”, which I understand is planned, which other tracks do you have scheduled for single & video releases?

KA: “A Day In Da Hood” is another single. It features my 9 year old Sun, Amiri along with vocals by Don Scribbs!!!

DJ Imperial is the man who backs you up on turntable duties, How did you meet?

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KA: I met DJ Imperial while attending and performing for a nation event called the SHOW and PROVE in North Carolina last July. He did his thing well on the turntables and complimented my style perfectly. He asked if I had a DJ. I looked and said “Yeah… you”! It was that simple. We’ve been rocking since then.

You’ve been heavily promoting this album with live appearances & interviews. Are there any other ways of promoting the Living Mathematics Movement that you have planned, such as youth workshops etc?

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KA: The funny thing about this question is, I am a middle school social worker who already teaches written and performance art workshops as well. These have inadvertently always provided additional promotions. I strive to keep my worlds separate though. My workshops are for the youth and their edification. I don’t ever want to exploit them for my personal career goals. It’s about them when I facilitate. That’s their time.

The album has been released independently through your own company “Sandy’s House Entertainment”, is it just a record label or do you provide other entertainment services?

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KA: We are an independent entertainment company. My partner, Chad McKelvey is a filmmaker and we teamed up to be able to cover all bases. We are in the process of developing other acts now.

Your previous music tracks have mainly been spoken word based, but you are equally adept as a rapper. Do you have any preference for which style you perform to get your message across to listeners?

KA: My preference has always been Hip Hop as I’ve been doing it since I was 8 years old. Spoken Word gave me a lane to spit conscious lyrics to people who still wanted them. They both serve unique and individual purposes though and must be respected to do so successfully.

It’s clear that your aim is to promote positivity with your music. Which other Hip Hop artists out there now do you feel are also currently doing the same?

KA: Today’s positive emcees are the same as in the eighties and nineties with the exception of Lupe Fiasco. I still see Nas doing it more than anyone else on a major level, Brand Nubian is still performing and I see Wise Intelligent out there. The time is ripe though, for someone new with that Golden Era flavor of positive rap.

How do you feel about the current state of Hip Hop & the direction it is going in?

KA: Right now, Hip Hop is stagnated by the corporations and mainstream media execs. Hip Hop is on life support so to speak. It promotes death and the degradation of the youth. The glorification of negativity, drugs, gangs and violence is killing this generation of the youth EVERYWHERE!!!

Other than continuously promoting the Living Mathematics movement, do you have any other projects planned?

KA: Currently I am working on some hot collaborations with Bronco Knowledge, Allah Magnetic, Allah Mathematics from Wu Tang Clan and a movie soundtrack.

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What message do you have for followers of the Living Mathematics movement, I’m sure you’re very appreciative for all their support?

KA: I obviously want to thank everyone for the tremendous showing of support we have been receiving. I encourage them to continue forwarding the process of realizing your dreams and aspirations. Make yourself happy and content with your life as this promotes health and longevity. Don’t allow adversity to stagnate you. Know that you are appreciated!!!

In closing, I naturally will you further success & prosperity with the Living Mathematics movement. I also look forward to more musical collaborations with yourself. Peace God!

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KA: Thank you for this opportunity and as always… Peace to the God!
(Rashad Unique Allah)

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To order a hard copy CD of the Living Mathematics album by Kasim Allah, e-mail him direct @ kasallday@gmail.com

Kasim Allah @ Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/kasimallah
Kasim Allah fan page @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kasim-Allah/122951186897?ref=ts&fref=ts
Sandy’s House Entertainment: http://sandyshouseent.com/

“Still Stedy Serv’n ‘Em!” An exclusive interview with Stedy Serv

With the recent EP release of his ’94 studio session, what more appropriate time to catch up with & speak to Chicago rapper Stedy Serv.

What’s good Serv? When I was approached by Black Pegasus to do this interview, I wasn’t aware of you as an artist, so this gave me an opportunity to familiarise myself with your music. Please give us a brief introduction of yourself.

SS: Stedy Serv has been a hip hop activist since the early 80’s. Started rhyming in 1985. I am a student of the old school. And a contributor to the now and new school.

I understand that your place in Chicago Hip Hop goes back to the ’80’s. How did you originally get on the scene & who were your Hip Hop influences?

SS: I was in a rap group called the up brothers, My partner Well Equipped and I. We listened to WHPK and WNUR and when ever there would be an advertisement about a contest or a showcase we were there. In 1987 there was a place called the Bedrock in which we rocked and ever since then that was the mission. I was also in a group with me and my homeboy Discover, we were called the Kraftsmen. It lasted from about 1990 until 1994. My Hip Hop influences ranges from people like Run-DMC, T la rock, LL Cool J, Eric B. and Rakim & KRS-One, basically all the pioneers from b boys to writers & DJ’s.

Hip Hop is still as regionally divided as ever. In your opinion, what makes Chicago stand out from other areas & has the scene changed much over the years?

SS: You may be surprised but rap didn’t stand out in the 80’s as you would think. Hip Hop was underground in Chicago and if you tried to make it popular you went to hell for it, which inadvertently created a hunger and an edge for the average MC in Chicago. It was an all out battle on all fronts so the average Chicago MC is super ill! Now the scene is caught up in commercialism. Unfortunately it’s real cliquish and you’ll have to know someone to get on. All you had to be was fresh back in the days . It’s been a major change.

Being a veteran of Hip Hop, how do you feel about the state of the art form as it exists nowadays?

SS: The art form is controlled by censorship. You can curse and deliver messages to destroy lives of the young and innocent and have successful career. But if you try to teach and be a responsible artist you’ll just fade away, so in my opinion it caters to the suckers. A lot of people claim hip hop but don’t even do hip hop so the essence of our culture is always misrepresented.

Which artists do you currently rate in the Hip Hop game of today? Also what albums & singles are you giving hot rotation to?

SS: To be honest I support hip hop regardless of the year old or new as long as it’s fresh. I could rock some Mantronix then some Diamond D & then play It’s Yours by T La Rock. As long as it’s a good joint I’m a rock it.

Back to you now, was there any particular vibe or theme you looked to showcase on your debut album from 2006, “11 (One On One)?

SS: To expose the masses to the raw elements and the integrity of conscience rap. As well as that when you are naturally fresh in your music with a message to reach the youth it gets undermined. You see the devil has his hand in the game whether you know it or not. To teach and highlight the tenants of hip hop.

How did last years collaboration album, “Deep Devastators” with DJ Editkut come about being made?

SS: Editkut, a well established lyricist just felt like it was time and we felt a lot of peeps slept on the one on one album. So from that we decided to combined efforts. He chose some songs he had and I came with mine. We collaborated on Change The Energy.

Getting the “You Know The Time” EP finally released after all these years must be pleasing for you. Is there plenty more of your work in the archives for us to look forward to eventually hearing?

SS: The archive is full. Editkut and I never stopped recording since 1995. We have been at it and have a lot to show.

So, what’s next for Stedy Serve, are you in the studio working on any forthcoming projects?

SS: Indeed. I got a project Editkut and I are working on called Servface. I also have a solo project coming called Envoice, produced by Editkut. I got a project with Ves 120 as well as Dj Phonz.

Again, many thanks for taking time to speak. What words of wisdom do you have for your supporters?

SS: Don’t sleep on DJ Abs Transform, Editkut aka DJ Midas Touch and my man emcee E.S.Q. The crew is called NORPH and we aint playing at all.
(Rich Unique)

Stedy Serv – You Know The Time EP @ Black Pegasus Music: here

Emergency warning for Hip Hop! An exclusive interview with MF 911

Mother F*%king Emergency , Mega Force and 911 are the original suggested names given by Public Enemy’s Chuck D to the Detroit hip hop trio known as MF911.

MF911 made up of Ant Live, Mainy Main, and Ced Rat are one of the first groups to put the “D”(Detroit, Michigan) on the map way before the Eminem and Jay Dilla era. Their 1993 debut album “Idol*The Bloodsport” was produced by Ced Gee from Ultramagnetic MC’s on Next Plateau Records. This album is considered a classic and MF 911 thrived on sounding original, hardcore and most importantly kicking lyrical metaphors!!

Although they had a classic album underneath their belts, that didn’t stop them from getting caught up in the record industry politics. In 1996 when the group was at the end of recording there second album “The Rukus” Next Plateau Records was bought out by major label Mercury Records leaving there new album shelved without a home to release it.

Now through Marc Davis’ Chicago based “Black Pegasus Records”, MF911 will get ”The Ruckus” released in the early part of this year. I thought it was time to catch up with & speak to MF 911.

What’s good guys? Many thanks for taking time to speak. For those unfamiliar with yourselves, give them a brief introduction to MF 911?

MF 911: MF 911 IS Tim Da Terrible, Mainly Main, Ced Rat and Ant Live aka Mad Scientist King, Who are all from Detroit’s 3rd Street and the West Side 7 Mile Road, not 8 Mile where Em’ (Eminem) is from.

It’s said that Public Enemy’s Chuck D either gave you or influenced your group name. What is the meaning of MF 911?

MF 911: WE MET CHUCK D AFTER A CONCERT IN DETROIT IN 1987. WE WERE HANGIN’ OUT WITH CHUCK AND TALKIN’ ABOUT A LOT OF STUFF TELLIN’ HIM WE WANTED TO BE S1W’S, BUT HE SAID WE HAD TO TALK TO GRIFF. SO WE STARTED TALKIN’ ABOUT OUR GROUP AND SAYING WHAT WAS A GOOD NAME FOR US TO COME OUT AS.

WE USE TO BE NAMED PHILLI BOY PRODUCTION AND CHUCK SAID WE GOT A SONG COMIN’ OUT CALLED “911 IS A JOKE”. SO HE SAID MAYBE Y’ALL SHOULD CALL Y’ALLSELVES 911, Y’ALL CAN GET A NAME FROM US BRINGING OUT THAT SONG. SO WE SAID THAT’S COOL.

LATER WHEN WE LINKED WITH CED GEE IN THE STUDIO WE HAD TO FINISH OUR NAME. 911 WASN’T ENOUGH AND THE “GEE” WAS OUR IDOL. SO BECAUSE OF THE MC’S THAT WERE OUT AT THE TIME MAKIN’ MONEY LIKE HAMMER, YOUNG MC, VANILLA ICE AND THE U-MC’S, WE ADDED MF, AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, “MUTHA F*CKEN’ EMERGENCY” AKA MF911.

How did you get together to form the group and how easy was it to break into the music industry?

MF 911: ANT LIVE MOVED INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD IN 1980 AND ME, CED RAT, AND MY BROTHER MAINY MAIN LIVED 4 HOUSES DOWN ON THE SAME BLOCK. WE STARTED PLAYING SPORTS TOGETHER AND FIGHTIN’ EACH OTHER ON THE BLOCK WHEN ANT LIVE COMES TO ME AND CED RAT ASKING IF I WANT TO BE IN HIS GROUP.

WE THEN STARTED AN R&B BAND, PLAYING GIGS IN THE SUMMER AT LOCAL SCHOOLS AND IN OUR BACKYARDS FOR MONEY. MY UNCLE IS LEVI STUBBS OF THE FOUR TOPS, SO I PLAYED PRETTY MUCH EVERY INSTRUMENT BY EAR AS MUSIC WAS A FAMILY TRAIT. MAINY JOINED LATER, THEN TIM WHO IS ANT LIVE’S COUSIN JOINED.

AS FAR AS BREAKING INTO THE INDUSTRY, WE WERE 20 YEARS OLD AND LIED TO ULTRAMAGNETIC’S RECORD COMPANY NEXT PLATEAU TO GAIN AN AUDIENCE WITH CED GEE. WE TOLD THEM WE WERE A RECORD LABEL LOOKING FOR CED GEE TO PRODUCE AND APPEAR ON A TRACK SO THEY GAVE US HIS PHONE NUMBER. WE CALLED CED AND TOLD HIM THE TRUTH.

The hip hop world is very familiar with Slum Village, J-Dilla & Eminem, but you guys as a Detroit act came out first. Do you see yourselves as pioneers with regards to this & also, how does Detroit differ to other to other areas in hip hop terms? (ie: sound & style).

MF 911: WE ARE PIONEERS IN DETRIOT BECAUSE THE TYPE OF MUSIC, HIP HOP AND RHYMING WE WERE DOING WAS TOO COMPLEX FOR THE RAP FANS HERE AT THE TIME. DETROIT WOULD HAVE FAVORED WEST COAST MUSIC MUCH MORE THAN EAST COAST MUSIC AT THAT TIME. WE WERE ULTRAMAGNETIC, P.E, JUST ICE, MANTRONIX AND T LA ROCK JUNKIES AND THAT’S WHO WE WANTED TO BE.

It’s been a while, nearly 20 years in fact since the “Idol*The Bloodsport” album dropped. The sound was clearly reflective of the 90’s boom bap era in which it came out. How much has your whole sound, lyrically & musically, changed since then?

MF 911: OUR SOUND HAS CHANGED A LITTLE, BUT NOT MUCH. WE GOT A LOT OF OUR INSPIRATION MOVING FORWARD MUSICALLY AND LYRICALLY AFTER THE “IDOL*THE BLOODSPORT” LP FROM NAS, MOBB DEEP & WU TANG CLAN.

WHEN WE CAME OUT IN OCTOBER OF 1993, THE RAP MUSIC WE FASHIONED STARTED TO CHANGE, LYRICS WEREN’T ABOUT BIG WORDS AND SPACE TALK ANYMORE, IT CHANGED TO COMPLEXITY, REALISM IN YOUR STORY AND HOW WITTY WE COULD BE WITH OUR BIG WORDS. THEN THERE WAS A TIME WHEN WE FELT WE HAD TO TRY AND MAKE SONGS THAT RECORD COMPANIES WOULD BE MORE INTERESTED IN. WE CAME CLOSE TO GETTING ANOTHER BIG RECORD DEAL, BUT THAT DIDN’T WORK SO WE DITCHED THAT STYLE QUICK.

What do you feel set MF 911 apart from other hip hop groups?

MF 911: WHAT SET US APART FROM OTHER RAP GROUPS, ESPECIALLY BEING FROM DETROIT IS AFTER OUR DEAL WAS UP AND OUR SEARCH FOR A NEW DEAL DIDNT HAPPEN, ANTLIVE GOT A JOB ON RADIO FM98 WJLB. THIS WAS AS A CO-HOST TO BUSHMAN AND KEPT OUR NAME AND BRAND IN THE INDUSTRY AND CITY (MF911 AKA THE RUKUS CLIK)!

WE WERE THE FIRST GROUP TO INTRODUCE RAP RADIO PROMO’S IN DETROIT. THERE IS NO GROUP IN DETROIT THAT DID THIS BEFORE US. EVEN AFTER 20 YEARS NO GROUP HAS BEEN MORE CONSISTENT, MORE HARDCORE, UNDERGROUND, DIVERSE OR WILLING TO WORK WITH MORE ARTISTS AND BRIDGE MORE GAPS FROM DETROIT THAN US!

ONE MAJOR THING ABOUT US WAS WE WERE THE 2ND GROUP OUT OF DETROIT TO GET A MAJOR DEAL. BOSS SIGNED TO DEF JAM AND WE SIGNED TO NEXT PLATEAU/POLYGRAM.

THERE WERE GROUPS B 4 US THAT HAD DEALS LIKE AWESOME DRE AND KAOS AND MYSTRO, BUT NO ONE WAS MAJOR UNTIL WE AND BOSS STEPPED OUT OF DETROIT. OUR DOWN SIDE WAS BECAUSE WE HAD A DEAL EARLY IN THE 1990’S AND WE DIDNT UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF GRASS ROOTS OR OPEN MIC’S, WE WERE BEYOND THAT. SOON AFTER 1995 HIP HOP CHANGED IN DETROIT TO CYPERS AND PROMOTING YOURSELF, WHICH WE DIDNT UNDERSTAND, BECAUSE A RECORD COMPANY DID THAT FOR US PRIOR.

Ced Gee produced a number of tracks on “Idol*The Bloodsport”, & it’s clear to hear the Ultramagnetic sounding influence in the tracks. What was like working with Ced?

MF 911: WORKING WITH CED G WAS A GREAT LEARNING EXPERIENCE. HE TOLD AND SHOW US A LOT. I REALLY CANT EXPLAIN WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO WORK WITH SOMEONE YOU IDOLISED AND ACTUALLY BROKE YOUR CASSETTE TAPES PLAYIN’ HIS MUSIC SO MUCH, BUT ITS SOMETHING THAT WILL STAY WITH US FOR LIFE.

MY OLDER BROTHER JAMES CHUBB TAUGHT US PURE HIP-HOP FROM HIS OWN EAR, WHAT HE LIKED AS A RECORD CONSUMER AND COLLECTOR, THEREFORE IT WAS NATURAL FOR US TO SPEAK ON
HARD RHYMES, HARD TIMES, HARD CRIMES AND HARD MINDS. WE SPOKE ON DETROIT WITH A NEW YORK STATE OF MIND!

It must have been a big disappointment having your follow up project “The Ruckus” shelved when Mercury took over Next Plateau. Now thanks to Marc Davis’ “Black Pegasus Music” label, it will finally get a release. That must be pleasing. What can we expect from MF 911 on this release?

MF 911: THE MUSIC IS EVEN HARDER AND I’M BACK IN THE PILOT SEAT PRODUCING THE BULK OF MF9 11 MATERIAL. ANT LIVE DIRECTS, I PRODUCE AND MAINY STARS.

Is the Black Pegasus Music deal a long term one or just for the distribution of “The Ruckus”?

MF 911: WELL, WE’RE WORKING ON SOME NEW MF 911 BEATS AND RHYMES THRU BLACK PEGASUS RECORDS AND THEIR OWNER MARC DAVIS. IF THERE ARE ANY REAL BIG RECORD COMPANIES LOOKING FOR THE ANSWER, BLACK PEGASUS GOT THE REAL DEAL.WE ARE BOUND TO GET RID OF THESE WACK GROUPS, SO HERE WE ARE!

It’s always interesting to hear what long time hip hop artists have to say about the current state of the artform. What’s your view of hip hop in this day & age?

MF 911: IN THIS DAY AND AGE HIP HOP IS IN A BAD STATE. THE PROBLEM IS AS TIME GOES BY THE STANDARDS DROP. WHEN WE WERE COMIN’ UP IN MUSIC, THE SONGS OUT TODAY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN TAKEN SERIOUSLY OR LISTENED TO IN OUR OPINION. WE BELIEVE THE DOWN TREND OF LYRICS AND PURITY OF MUSIC, EXCEPT FOR CERTAIN ICONIC GROUPS AND ARTISTS, GOT STARTED IN THE WEST COAST. AFTER ICE T, WE DIDNT CARE ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE OUTSIDE OF NEW YORK’S UNDERGROUND HIP-HOP.

Currently, which rappers in the game today do you guys listen to & rate positively?

MF 911: WE DONT REALLY CARE ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK, WE DON’T WORRY ABOUT NOBODY BUT US AND HOW MUSIC MAKES US FEEL. THERE’S NOT MUCH LEFT TO SPEAK ABOUT, NOT ENOUGH TO MENTION ANYONE OR GROUPS. WE JUST DO US.

So, what can we expect from you in the future? Are you working on any new projects?

MF 911: AS WE STATED EARLIER, WE ARE WORKING ON SOME NEW MF 911 BEATS AND RHYMES THRU BLACK PEGASUS RECORDS AND THEIR OWNER MARC DAVIS. IT’S A REAL EMERGENCY TO GO AGAINST THIS NEW BAND OF WACKY WACK RAPPERS MAN. OUR GROUP NAME IS VERY NECESSARY, IT IS NEEDED RIGHT NOW.

AGAIN, WE ARE BOUND TO GET RID OF THESE WACK GROUPS, SO HERE WE ARE!

Thanks for sharing your history, views & opinions with Unique Heat. Any message for your fans & the hip hop world in general?

MF 911: MF 911 IS READY FOR THE WAR. INTRODUCED BY JAMES CHUBB, SPAWNED FROM CHUCK D, BORN FROM ULTRAMAGNETIC BY CEDRIC P. CHUBB AKA CED RAT.
(Rich Unique)

MF 911 @ Discogs: www.discogs.com/artist/MF911
Black Pegasus Music profile: uniqueheat.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/black-pegasus-music/

Talkin’ All That Jazz & Hip Hop with Superstar Quamallah


In my continuous quest to champion the cause of “Real Hip Hop”, I always endeavour to highlight artists who are undeservedly overlooked by the media. One man who for me embodies this is “Superstar Quamallah”. With the release of his collaboration album with Deqawn in September this year, I see this as an ideal time for a rapper with a rich musical background to inform us about his career.

Peace Quamé, I hope you are all good, thanks for taking time out to talk. I know you’re no rookie to the Hip Hop game, but for those unfamiliar with your music, give them a brief intro to your good self.

SQ: Peace Rich Unique. Much appreciation and gratitude to you for the interview, recognition and your work as well. I have the spirit of a creative artist and I’ve been involved with drawing, graffiti art, breakdancing, turntablism and writing since I was about 5 yrs. old. During the late 80’s is when I began to make my mark as a hip-hop DJ and the second group I was ever in was called “Children Of The Sun”, which included Swahili the Lyrical Deity and Defari Heru (and myself as DJ Almighty Quamé). We met up as freshmen at U.C. Berkeley and we made a name for ourselves battling Money B from Digital Underground and befriending a very young Del The Funky Homosapien. In short, I’ve been a hip-hop junkie since the late 70’s and one of my greatest musical highlights was my first record published in 1999 on ABB records entitled “Don’t Call Me John”.

What was it that made you make the transition from DJ to rapper? Following that, how did you eventually get into the music industry?

SQ: The transition from DJ to emcee was natural for me because as a DJ all I did was study and listen intensely to emcees. As a mixtape and party DJ, I had to decide what music got selected so that’s a crucial responsibility. Thus, I had to be able to “feel” the artist as well as “understand” their genius. That process of being a selector influenced my own ability to not only write rhymes but also gave me a sense of what it meant to rock the mic and the crowd as well as understand the importance of “words”. However, I never wanted to be center stage so my career was somewhat by accident. I was producing my homeboy emcee Swahili and he was such a perfectionist with his rhymes, I would get impatient waiting for him to complete songs. In the meantime, I would just rhyme over the beats and record it cause I was so excited to hear how the finished songs would sound. The result became a demo that Beni B would hear later and publish with the title, “Don’t Call Me John” – a message to my father who was a jazz legend, but didn’t raise me.

How much of an influence was your father & legendary musician “Big John Patton” on your career? What other musical influences did you have that helped form you as a recording artist?

SQ: That’s funny, I just mentioned him. His spirit as my father was the biggest influence and his legacy from the different artists he worked with, who I spent more time with than him probably was an even greater influence. I remember the day I called up the great Lou Donaldson to ask him how to get in tough with my father. What an honor! I was sampling his work one day and then the next day I’m calling him Uncle Lou!, but the main influences on my musical sensibilities was growing up in New York and the birth of hip-hop music! I used to study the Cold Crush Brothers, Soul Sonic Force and Chief Rocker Busy Bee as a shortly.

Another transition for you was relocating from your native New York to Los Angeles. From your perspective, how much of a cultural difference is there Hip Hop wise between the East & West coasts?

SQ: Yo, I could write a book to answer this question Rich! The transition from the East Coast to The west was huge!!! First of all, L.A. didn’t have hip-hop culture like New York even though cats were making music like the World Class Wrecking Crew and Egyptian Lover. L.A. urban culture at the time in the mid-80’s revolved around roller skating, car life and gang banging. They had graffiti artists and pop locking but the terrain was so spread out and the gangs had such a huge impact on what could transpire. So, when L.A. started to develop an authentic rap music sound it reflected this difference. For instance, their music had more bass and low end because of the car life (big stereo systems were a must). Also, cats in NYC are more fast slick talkers so for us witty lyrics was important, but for laid back L.A. folk they needed simple straight forward phrases. I can go on and on noting differences. The similarities were there though as far as the pain from poverty, oppression as black and brown folks, police brutality, crime, drugs – esp. the crack epidemic and the influence and heritage of soul/funk music.

You’re also a lecturer/academic co-ordinator at U.C. Berkeley. How easy do you find combining this with being a recording artist as well?

SQ: I love teaching and learning. It goes hand in hand with being an artist. With an open mind and heart, I continuously find new inspiration for material. The more frustrating part is that my work at the university doesn’t allow me the time to focus on my music the way I’d love. The “invisible man” LP is the first project that I took almost two years working on the songs little by little. To this day, it is my most favorite album that I’ve completed. as well, being around young people gives me a lot of energy and keeps me connected to “truth” and what matters most, our future minds.

Let’s focus on your latest album project “Talkin’ All That Jazz”. As the title suggests, the musical backdrop is a Jazzy/Hip Hop one. Being a producer as well, is Jazz a preferred musical genre for you to blend with Hip Hop? Also, will working with Deqawn be a permanent fixture or just for this project?

SQ: My natural voice tends to compliment and sound better with jazz. I love jazz and I’m definitely a jazz/soul brother. Hip-hop is born from blues, jazz, and soul, so yeah the blend is natural. Deqawn is my brother so whenever he returns from Thailand (he’s over there working on his Masters degree) we will definitely do more music. I would love to do something more hardcore with him entitled “The Black Gods” inshallah.

For you, how much has the music industry & Hip Hop in general changed since your debut EP “Don’t Call Me John” back in ‘98/’99?

SQ: LOL! I could write another book to answer that question right there Rich! To put it briefly, since 1999 the hip-hop music industry has been severely impacted by large corporation takeover (the takeover of video jukebox as an outlet for independent artists that occurred in ’99 for example) and the hip-hop community has been diffused by media takeover especially with the internet. In 2005, the internet became the main source for hip-hop, allowing access to any and everyone! Authentic hip-hop DJ’s were replaced by replica and fraudulent DJ’s and youtube. The industry is so convoluted and flooded with wanna-be hip-hoppers that audiences are simply confused and can no longer distinguish nourishing, authentic artists from fast food, trendy artists. mass production of hip-hop is through the roof right now and without authentic DJ’s as the gatekeepers, everyone just jumps on whatever works for the moment. There are no longer longevity artists who will deliver us classic material for three or more albums aside from those left over from the glory days.

Of the Hip Hop artists that are out now & currently recording, who do you like & listen to?

SQ: Currently I love Kev Brown, Skyzoo, Little Brother, Jay Electronica, Cory Gunz and Taj the Infinite.

How do you see the future of Hip Hop? Also, being a lecturer yourself, how important is it that the younger generation of listeners are educated about Hip Hop’s roots & history?

SQ: Build and destroy. We are witnessing a death within hip-hop currently, as death and life are twins that exist simultaneously. With this height of “commercial hip-hop music” (a death of pure hip-hop music) original hip-hoppers from the 70’s/80’s have become parents to young children born in the late 80’s and early 90’s who are crafting a voice and creative movement built from the energy of the original hip-hop renaissance, no different than how Herc and Bambaataa’s generation were the cultural carriers for the James Brown/ George Clinton soul/funk generation. Knowledge of self is critical to the survival of Black native African sacred traditions born here in the States and Islands. That is why I teach what I do.

On a personal note, what can we expect in the future from Superstar Quamallah? Are you working on any forthcoming projects?

SQ: Yeah I will be working on another solo project that I plan on distributing to only friends and family first by hand like I did the “Godfood: The Breakfast Album” inshallah. Much love Rich Unique, peace to the God!

Peace Quamé, many thanks & good luck in all your future endeavours.
(Rich Unique)

Preview & download Superstar Quamallah’s music @ iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/artist/superstar-quamallah/id29436189
Info on Superstar Quamallah & Dequawn – Talkin’ All That Jazz: uniqueheat.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/superstar-quamallah-deqawn-talkin%E2%80%99-all-that-jazz/
Superstar Quamallah’s discography @ Discogs: www.discogs.com/artist/Superstar+Quamallah
Superstar Quamallah @ Twitter: twitter.com/#!/Quamallah

12 Jewels: An exclusive interview with Lakim Shabazz (now Lakim Sha-rik Allah)

Lakim Shabazz/Lakim Sha-rik Allah

To my amazement, one of New Jersey’s finest ever MC’s Lakim Shabazz remains as underrated as he was in his active recording days with Tuff City Records. Somehow, the rapper whose rhymes were heavily influenced by the Nation Of Gods & Earths seemingly disappeared after two albums.

After recognising his name on a social network site, I immediately took the opportunity to request an interview with the God. Lakim immediately agreed & I welcomed the chance to find out what he’s up to nowadays & build with him about his hip hop career.

Peace Lakim, Thanks for allowing me to build with you. I’m sure many people who remember your music are wondering whatever happened to you. How are you & what are are you up to these days?

LS: Peace Almighty, I hope this finds you in the best of health mentally and physically. I come in the name of God Lakim Sha-rik Allah, formerly known as God Lakim Shabazz Allah. I’m great lord, building and teaching the children. I’ve been constantly elevating taking care of my Earth and seeds, still creating music and working in healthcare which I’ve been in for 17 years. I’m a supervisor in a hospital and I work part-time for a paediatrician. Most of all I am being a true and living God, performing his duty which is teaching civilization.

From my research very little seems to be documented about your music career, what influenced you to rap & write rhymes?

LS: I was influenced to rhyme when I first heard it. It was the year 1980-81 when I first got a taste of Hip Hop music. Sugar Hill Gang and Jimmy Spicer Super Rhymes. Once I heard that it was on. Then the Furious 5 came with Freedom and the rest is history. I used to spend nights in the Bronx over my Aunt Pearls house when I was in the 8th grade. From there I got turned on to Cold Crush, Fantastic Romantic 5, Crash Crew the Boogie Boys Funky 4 and many others. I’d say my greatest influence was Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz, they were my idols.

How did you meet The 45 King? Was it through him that you got the Tuff City record deal?

LS: I met 45 King through a mutual friend of ours. Mark used to be the record boy for Breakout Funky 4 plus 1 more DJ. He had moved to Irvington NJ. and I’m from Newark, NJ. We used to go over Mark’s house to see him cut 45s’ & 33s’ & he was cool with Tito from the Fearless 4. Tito used to rock in Mark’s basement and I used to take pointers. Tito was nice and he still is. Indeed it was through 45 King that I got the deal through Tuff City. I met Mark around 1983-84.

With all the 12”s & compilation albums, your collaborations with The 45 King stretch much further than your two albums. What was it like working with him?

LS: I love working with him. Especially after hearing Red Alert mention his name every weekend on the radio for those hot beats. I feel like it was destiny. See, I knew Mark for about 3 years before we got together to record and once I heard his name on the airwaves I sought him out. Biz Markie actually linked me up with him around the time he was recording the Vapors. Biz kept telling me to be patient yet I was a fiery energy ball ready to unleash, I have no regrets however looking back I should have exercised more patience and not signed with Tuff City. Yet I accomplished what I set out to do and that was spark the minds of millions of mentally blind people through my music, so it’s peace.

Compared to the original line up, “The Flavor Unit” had a much different image when Queen Latifah & Shakim took over. How did this situation arise?

LS: Latifah and Shakim had the finances to incorporate the name and build a brand behind it and that’s how that happened. She at the time was the most successful out of the original members financially, so it was discussed and agreed upon that they would incorporate the name which eventually grew into a worldwide management company and record label.

I remember the production work that you did with Diamond D, what made you decide to start making beats as well? Also, apart from your own tracks, who else have you produced for?

LS: With the 45 King & being around him, seeing how he made beats I just gravitated towards it. One thing about God is that we don’t limit ourselves to just one thing, Allah is lord of all the worlds so it was just another sphere of existence to master, I’ve always had an ear for music & I used to DJ before I ever spit a rhyme so once I learned it was just something to add on to what I was already doing. My beat influences are 45 King, The Bomb Squad, Marley Marl, Howie Tee, Herbie Lovebug, Louie Vegas, Diamond, Large Professor, Buckwild, Showbiz, The Beatnuts, Pete Rock, Q Tip and Prince Paul. All of them influenced my production. Besides Diamond I’ve done production for Latifah, Apache, Latee, lots of unsigned acts and Shabba Ranks.

Your debut album “Pure Righteousness” firmly put you on the hip hop map. After your second “The Lost Tribe Of Shabazz” & the production work, you disappeared into obscurity. Did you choose to follow a different career path?

LS: I was going through trials and tribulations, striving to get released from Tuff City. Labels were interested yet Aaron Fuchs the owner was asking for too much money to release me. It was at this period in my life when I started to learn all the business aspects of the industry which was actually backwards. I should have learned that first however I was young and naive, I just wanted to make records not knowing that I was being used as a tool and a slave for Tuff City. It took me 4 years to get out of that deal yet I did it on my own without owing him anything. Actually he owes me and I have legal vultures taking care of that now. I went through a state of depression yet through the help of the true and living Gods I came out right. I was also managing my nephew Shatim at that time. He’s the young kid dancing in the Naughty By Nature OPP. video.

Clearly the Nation Of Gods & Earths was & still is to this day a major part of your life. When did you first become aware of the culture & how much of an active part do you play now?

LS: I got knowledge of self in the year 18 of Allah’s’ Nation at the age of 13. Since I had the knowledge I’ve been active. My name is in the Nations Book in Allah School and I’m a well respected, healthy, strong and good multiplier for our nation. I’ve performed at show and proves and many of our nations events. My life is dedicated to being a true and living god, dealing with living Mathematics. I was sparked by a brother name Lamel Born Allah in 1982. Then around 1991 I met a Brownseed by the name of Prince Naikwan Allah who introduced me to a Blackseed from Medina (Brooklyn) name Born Allah. Born was an older god from Medina who moved to New Jersey and started teaching in Orange. They used to call it the Orchard. Indeed I’m very active, we frequent the Universal Parliaments, family day events, children day events and etc. We also have events in our land as well, rallys, children days and civilization classes. I deal with living Mathematics cause I live-in Supreme Mathematics and Alphabets. Man shows and proves who and what he is by building and developing useful things for self and nation. Need I say more?

In my experience, those who are unaware of what the Nation Of Gods & Earths is truly about either have misconceptions or endeavour to learn the truth. You were part of the great era that included Poor Righteous Teachers, King Sun, Brand Nubian & Rakim (amongst others). How much of a part do you feel you played in enlightening the 85% about the Nation Of Gods & Earths through your music?

LS: I build that I played a major part for what its worth people new the gods in the Tri-state area However no-one came with the knowledge on wax as raw as I did with pure righteousness. Rakim was out already and he’d drop a jewel here and there yet every song on my album I was dropping it. Science of self is truth and truth is power, the more truth you tell the more power you have, I had that supreme knowledge in me and it was powerful, it was seeking expression through my wisdom so I brought it forth. At the time of recording those albums I hadn’t met Born Allah yet but I had it and I gave it as I saw it. So yes, I build that I played a major roll in enlightening those without knowledge of self, you’re a perfect example of how one word can change the course of a nation.

Hip Hop has been through many different changes & trends. What’s your view of the scene now & do you feel there is a need for more positivity in hip hop?

LS: I like how it has grown from a baby to a grown man. I don’t like the corporations and 10% minded people that control the outlets that give it to mainstream audiences. We created it so we should own every aspect of it however we don’t. It’s a cash cow now with everyone sticking their claws in it just to make a buck. However there’s positive and negative in everything. The real still exists and is seen and heard.

Do you have any plans to record any new music either as an artist or producer?

LS: Indeed I’m recording now. My next album will be titled the Explanation with production from myself and 45 King. Maybe Diamond and Large, I say maybe because I want the world to know my production skills so with this project its’ real personal to me. I’m a free agent in the game, a veteran who can still go bar for bar with any of these so-called nice MC’s. I got some offers on the table yet now I’m just concentrating on composing a divine classic. I titled it the explanation so the world can see what I’ve been doing, where I’ve been and were I’m heading. I’m an understanding seed and it’s my job to bring forth understanding. In the future I’d like to do an all-God album with myself, Rakim, Lord Jamar, Wise intelligent and Allah Justice (The GZA/Genius). It will be made a living reality in time just as I come in time. We’re not on the clock and there is no mystery God cause the dead is not known to return from the grave.

You are a person that is associated with having a positive character. With so much negativity in this world, what message do you have for all those people striving to better themselves & their communities?

LS: Trust in self. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Set your goals in life stay determined and go for it. Only one can stop you is you.
One only learns what one teaches self. It’s not so much what we say yet what we do which will have a positive or negative impact on our communities. It’s an ongoing fight yet we are warriors and who is a better warrior than Allah, He is the best of planners.

Many thanks Lakim, peace to the God.

LS: Peace God.

Mathematically Yours,

Lakim Sha-rik Allah (47th year of Allah’s Nation)

(Interview by Rashad Unique Allah)




Album discography:
Pure Righteousness (1988 Tuff City)
The Lost Tribe Of Shabazz (1990 Tuff City)

Check out Lakim Shabazz aka The Pinnacle @ myspace here
Check out Lakim Shabazz @ discogs here

Exclusive interview with Hasan Salaam

I recently managed to catch up with rapper Hasan Salaam, who took time out of his busy globetrotting schedule to give an exclusive & indepth interview for “Unique Heat”. It gave me an opportunity to highlight a rapper who has much to say about the world in which we live.

Peace Hasan. Firstly, many thanks for taking time out for an interview. I hope all is good with you.

HS: Peace Rich. Thanks for building with me. I got a lot of things in the works so this is a good time link.

This year you followed up the Mohammad Dangerfield “Free $ .99¢” EP with the self titled album. Tell us about the album’s concept & how’s the response been?

HS: The response has been good. People got to see more aspects of who I am with MoDanger. It’s different than the solo projects cause it’s new ground. I’ve never released a group project before so the whole process was different. I think people got a glimpse into the struggles I was dealing with and will be a good bridge back into the upcoming solo releases.

The Mohammed Dangerfield duo consists of yourself & Rugged N Raw. Is this a permanent move recording wise & what’s it like working with Rugged & Raw?

HS: We have been recording with each other for years. He produced “Allegro” which was the 1st single off my 1st album Paradise Lost and we recorded “Broke & Proud” for his Truth Serum album so it was a natural thing. We are both back to working on solo projects but a 2nd album is in planning stages right now.

Let’s take it back, what influenced you to start rapping & how did you get into the music industry?

HS: I have always been into music. I started off just writing stories and song lyrics. My neighbor Walt across the street used to DJ and they would be out front of his house freestyling and I wanted to hang with the older cats. He wound up giving me his records when I started DJing and after hearing his Rakim album I was like oh sh*t! This is tuff, intelligent and ill I wanna do that. In my house I was raised on the classics too Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane, Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, Motown heavy and all of that made me wanna put the pen to the paper.

I first became aware of your music in 2008 through your “Children Of God” album. Your music has a very social conscious & positive edge to it, so what are the influences behind your lyrics? Also, how would you describe yourself as rapper?

HS: Life and experience are my biggest inspirations. Everything I deal with or go thru good or bad is written down or freestyled at some point. My music is a direct reflection of who I am on a day to day, there are some serious issues that I choose to address more directly cause I feel they effect the world but at the same time I bare my soul and my personal sh*t cause you cant point a finger without 3 pointed back at you.

What is your view of the current Hip Hop scene & what do you feel that your music adds to it?

HS: The scene is as limited and as broad as its ever been simultaneously. The mainstream is regurgitating the same thing over and over again, but the independent and underground scenes have more diversity in content, styles, and forms of hip-hop than ever and the internet gives everyone an opportunity to get their music out for better or worse. I add on by bringing my unique perspective on life, relationships, politics, all that from round the way to round the globe. My music is honest, I’m not trying to present a fantasy I tell it like it is.

Which rappers & groups did you look up to when you were younger & who do you rate in the game right now?

HS: When I was younger it was like Nas, Wu-Tang, Outkast, Biggie, Pac, Redman, Brand Nubian, Bootcamp, Snoop, Kurupt, Jay-Z, De La, Pun, AZ all those artists influenced me.

What for you is the highlight of your rap career so far?

HS: That’s a long list right there, seeing the world, rocking with amazing artists is all up there but #1 for me is bettering my relationship with my Mother. She raised me by herself and we used to be close when I was a kid but I started wilding out and she kicked me out of the house when I was 17. I was gone mentally and our relationship suffered, making music, working in the community and getting my act together brought us back together. The night I won the Underground Music Awards she was my date cause as a kid I told her I’d take her to every award show I could.

A recent major event for you was the visit to Guinea-Bissau & other parts of Africa where you performed. Tell us about the reason for the visit & describe the experience?

HS: Returning to the Motherland was amazing. We went to Guinea Bissau as a part of Hip-Hop Harmony. I was a part of The Impossible Music Sessions with a group from Guinea Bissau named The Baloberos crew had been detained by the military police out there. We did a concert in the capital city of Bissau and we did a creative writing workshop with kids at an SOS Village there. We documented our time in Senegal and Bissau through videos & blogs on my official website hasansalaammusic.com, inshAllah I will be back out there soon.

So what’s next for you, are you working on any current projects or have any lined up?

HS: I have a FREE EP entitled Music Is My Weapon that will be out soon. Appearances by General Steele from Smif N Wessun, Reef The Lost Cause, Chase Infinite of Self Scientific, Rugged N Raw, Bad Sportt. Tracks by The Snowgoons, Asa Buchanon, Crossbone T, Remot, & Ari Why.
Then in 2012 I will be releasing my 3rd album “Life In Black & White”, been working hard and putting in work.

Finally I must take this opportunity to thank you for providing the Mohammad Dangerfield track “Writers Block” for my Unique Heat: Global Warming mixtape project. It was definitely a big moment on the mix & highlighted just the kind of Hip Hop I love to hear. What words would you like to send out to you fans & the Hip Hop world in general?

HS: This is our culture & we have to stand up take the reigns on the direction it goes. tough economic times, murderous police, gentrification, & all the other problems we got going on our generation needs to step up and grab the baton, we can’t leave the elders hanging. We owe them and ourselves more than that. Check me out on twitter @ twitter.com/#!/hasansalaam
Peace.

Peace Hasan, many thanks.

(Interview by Rich Unique)


Check out the current Mohammad Dangerfield (Hasan Salaam & Rugged & Raw) album @ iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/album/mohammad-dangerfield/id415033155

Hasan Salaam @ myspace: www.myspace.com/hasansalaam
Hasan Salaam facebook community page: www.facebook.com/hasansalaammusic?ref=ts
Mohammad Dangerfield official website: mohammaddangerfield.com